Thousands marched outside the Arizona Superior Court building in central Phoenix on Saturday to protest the actions of Norwegian Child Protection Services, which forcibly removed five children from their parents last year in Norway.

The Bodnariu family is originally from Romania and they are evangelical Christians. Norway’s Child Protection Services, known as Barnevernet, removed the children from their home after determining that the parents were “indoctrinating” the children with allegedly radical beliefs.

The Bodnarius remain separated from their children and have lashed out at Barnevernet for arbitrarily raiding their home and having insufficient, unwarranted reasons to confiscate the children. To protest Barnevernet’s actions, the Bodnarius have coordinated several events across the globe.

To date, peaceful marches in support of the Bodnariu family have taken place in 20 countries across four continents.

Saturday’s event downtown attracted more than 2,000 people, who showed up to support the return of the Bodnariu children, one of whom is still less than a year old.

Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, who has made a name for himself supporting child welfare issues in Congress, addressed the crowd. He was joined by the Romanian-Americans for Reunification of Bodnariu Family Coalition, a group of community and religious leaders, businessmen and civic leaders.

The event was coordinated by the North Valley Romanian Church.

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